The elusive novel - Ward Greene: Lady and the Tramp (1953)

The elusive novel - Ward Greene: Lady and the Tramp (1953)

This article contains SPOILERS regarding the novel's plot, so please proceed at your own risk!

Now that the live-action adaptation is well on its way, I began to wonder: every live-action Disney movie differs from the original, sometimes it's just small differences, sometimes entire plotlines are modified. Regarding the LATT movie, we already have a general knowledge about it (see more in this article, for some nice photos taken on set check out this article) but whether the plot itself will change or not remains to be seen.

The creators definitely have the option of going back to the roots of the story, namely the 1953 novelization written by Ward Greene in order to make the audience more familiar with the story by the time it was released in 1955. This novel seems to be some sort of myth, but trust me, it exists (it's literally here, in my room, on my left, as I'm writing this :D) and in this article I will share with you how it differs from the movie, what would be nice to see from it in the live-action version and more importantly, why the publication of the novel was discontinued (it's very simple, you'll understand immediately).

In case my wishes come true and we'll get what I wish we would get in the live-action LATT movie, I'm marking everything from this point as SPOILER!















Alright, so if you're reading this that means that I've met my untimely end  that you're either not afraid of spoilers or you don't believe that I actually have the book. If it's the case of the former then I can only sympathise with you as I have no self-control myself either. However, if it's the latter then I'm happy to tell you that Ward Greene's version is indeed available for purchase but not unless you happen to have a few thousand bucks lying around (check out ebay for example: [x]). Now, the one I own was much, much cheaper than these ones, but please don't ask about the price because I'm still embarrased about paying so much money for a children's book :,D


If you're still with me after all this rambling, you definitely deserve to be entrusted with the oh-so-secret contents of Lady and the Tramp à la Greene, so here goes nothing:

  • in the book it's much more emphasized and detailed that Jim and Darling really, really spoil Lady. She has a bunch of accessories I never would have thought existed at the beginning of the 20th century: in rainy weather she wears a rubber jacket and little shoes (she hates them so Jim and Darling let her chew them up to her heart's desire :D)
  • she loves baths but not in the extatic manner we see from her daughters in LATT II. No, she plays hide and seek with Jim and Darling before every bath, then loves every second of the actual bathing.
  • in the movie we can see Lady lapping up some coffee for breakfast, in the book these treats go so far that there's mention of Lady getting sick several times because of "too much rich stuff" (quoted from the vet).
  • there's a very interesting little moment (only interesting because we know that Lady and Tramp will fall in love): one day, when Darling takes her to the butcher's, where Lady always receives a little paper bag full of bones, there's a new butcher who doesn't know them and asks "And a bone for the mutt?". Darling is obviously quite insulted at this and Lady, who at this point had never met a mutt before, decides "that it must be something pretty disgraceful." And thus, the scene is practically set for Tramp to prove himself :D
  • Jock's real name is Heather Lad O'Glencairn, his family calls him Jock McGinnis or just Jock.
  • apparently Trusty has asthma, that's why he has no sense of smell.
  • the business with the mystery brought on by the Darling's pregnancy is a little bit more heartbreaking here: Lady, as any dog, is very sensitive to her masters' manners, she believes that the note of love that has always been in their tone, even when they were scolding her, is missing now as if sometimes they simply forgot about her existence.
  • the idea that Lady is being replaced by the baby is sharper because Lady's room is the one being made over to be the baby's room.
  • as you might (or might not) know, Tramp's character was inspired by another story of Greene's: Happy Dan the Whistling Dog. He whistles in the movie and in the book as well, but in the latter, he does it to mess with the "kennel club" dogs who mistake his whistles for their masters' and jump up immediately. Now, this is the first thing I'd love to see in 2019 :D
  • in the movie Lady is mostly just shocked by Tramp's manners, in the book the situation leans more towards frightened. Tramp uses a lot of street slang and it definitely puts Lady out of her comfort zone
  • as Darling's due date is coming closer and closer Lady not only feels more neglected, she is actually neglected (her diet becomes more and more irregular, she's not getting enough exercise, they don't bathe her as often as needed, her nails are not clipped, etc)
  • it says a lot about her character that Lady, even though she feels that she's being unjustly punished, never feels any resentment towards Jim, Darling, or the baby, she simply feels homesick. She also begins to see the truth in what Tramp had said would happen when the baby arrives and thinks of him quite often. Look at this quote, it's so cute: "It might be fun to 'go a'roamin' with such a dog; maybe, together, they could find love".
  • Lady is having some crazy dreams: nice ones about Tramp juggling a undred moons on his nose, and bad ones about babies scratching her and looking like ogres.
  • in the movie the baby is born in April, in the book he arrives on the 14th of January.
  • I'm not sure if it's already confirmed or not so I'm putting it down: Aunt Sarah is the only sister of Darling's mother
  • Jim and Darling don't go on a holiday, Aunt Sarah insists on coming over and helping with the baby because she believes Darling to be a child herself who has no idea about childcare. She stays for literal months (until spring), Si and Am sleep in the kitchen and Lady has to sleep outside in the doghouse.
  • one day, Lady is out in the garden, the baby is in an outdoor crib. A pigeon (that reminds Lady of Tramp calling her a pigeon) lands on the bed, Am tries to catch it, misses and upsets the crib. Lady is now chained to the kennel and it's Jim's, Darling's and Aunt Sarah's collective, unanimous decision to put a muzzle on her. Having seen the accident Jock and Trusty come over to her and the "proposal" scene takes place.
  • "Seeing, smelling, tasting, speaking are checked or choked by the muzzle. It sours the spirit, poisons the blood, and breaks the heart. The muzzle is the prison camp, the torture chamber of dogs". My heart is also broken now, thanks, bye.
  • the pack of street dogs begin taunting Lady for her muzzle while she's still with Aunt Sarah. The woman actually trips over them, that's how Lady gets away.
  • in the alley, Lady passes out from fear and wakes up to Tramp trying to chew off her muzzle (which is funny, how is a leather muzzle so tough that a dog can't chew through it?)
  • in the film Tramp only ever calls Lady "Pidge" or "Pigeon". In the book he calls her "Little pigeon", "Pigeon", "Kid" and one single time, in the zoo, he calls her "Lady dear" laugh heart
  • Lady doesn't call Tramp anything in LATT and calls him by his name in LATT II but in this lovely little book she calls him Tramp and "Darling" once by accident (she just blurts it out, it's the cutest thing heart).
  • Tony and Joe do not appear at all, so no spaghetti dinner either (I know, what the heck). Instead, Lady and Tramp visit all six of his families and eat something at every house, which is altogether not a bad alternative.
  • Still during the night (sitting on the hilltop) they have the talk that takes place next morning in the movie. Lady actually convinces Tramp to go back with her and see a real home and a real baby and a real family. They arrive with no problem, Darling left the back door open and a light on in case her runaway little Lady finds her way home. Jim and Darling previously tore Aunt Sarah a new one for losing Lady.
  • surprise, surprise Lady and Tramp are not the only ones who can use the back door. They see the Rat as they enter the baby's room and the fight happens but when Tramp is caught the Rat's body is gone.
  • Jock and Trusty go after the dog wagon, Lady goes with them. Meanwhile, back in the house Si and Am decide that they went too far with hiding the Rat's body and lead the humans to it. (The redemption of Si and Am is the next thing I want in the live-action version since basically the only negative thing about the original is the racist representation of the cats as villains).
  • Aunt Sarah is also much more proactive here than in the movie: "We'll go [after the dog wagon] in my electric and we'll break every speed law in the city!" Yas, girl! :D
  • Trusty dies. I shall say nothing more on this topic because there's nothing child friendly I could say about this.
  • There's a lovely, lovely scene with Tramp and Jim that NEEDS TO BE in the live-action film. First, Tramp receives his name from Jim because he reminds the man of a dog he went "roamin' and rovin'" with as a boy. Second, Jim gives him some really wise advice: that in the long run it doesn't pay to be a "gay dog" because in the end there will be nothing but loneliness left for him. After this little speech Tramp receives his collar and I am bursting into tears for the fiftieth time because of this silly book.
  • I'm sorry but I can't paraphrase these two quotes, they are perfect:

"It was the next day, when Jock McGinnis came over that it happened. Jock made some remark addressed to "Miss Lady."

Tramp eyed him. "Mrs. Tramp, if you please," he said."

"Darling" [Lady] said, gazing fondly at the Tramp, "did I ever tell you that you were gorgeous?"

"You go dig a bone," said Tramp.

"But I mean it. I hope our children are just like you."


"I love mutts," said Lady. "Tramp," she wheedled, "whistle for me!"

  • as for the end of the story: they have five puppies, two with Lady's ears, two with Tramp's tail and "one had ears and a tail like no dog's you ever saw"  and this little one is also able to whistle like his dad :D

That was all I wanted to share with you, I hope you're as delighted with it as I was and I also hope that we'll see at least some of these lovely moments next year. Should you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments, I'll do my best to answer them! :)

And please forgive me any language mistakes I might have made, English is not my mothertongue blush

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